Here are my thoughts on this interview… (Kevin Gianni)
1. The bromine, flour, thyroid connection.
I have interviewed a good deal of experts who have explained that wheat flour has a negative effect on the thyroid. I’m sure you may have heard this before as well. What I hadn’t heard until now, is that Dr. Brownstein believes that the bromine added to flour is what damages the thyroid. Some experts put weight on the gluten, but Dr. Brownstein sees it differently (though does attribute gluten to be an issue as well.)
Dr. Brownstein says that the thyroid uptakes bromine if there is not enough iodine and this causes interference with thyroid function.
The gluten theory is that the body produces antibodies to the gluten protein that are similar to thyroid tissue and these antibodies attack the thyroid as well as the gluten. This has the workings of a classic autoimmune disease.
So I’m not sure which one is right (or both), but both outcomes tell you hybridized, processed flour (with excess gluten) is not something you should eat if you want a healthy thyroid – or healthy waistline.
2. Can you get your iodine from your seaweed?
I asked Dr. Brownstein if eating seaweeds was enough to get sufficient amounts of iodine. His response wasn’t exactly a simple one.
First, you have to get your seaweed from a clean area that is not pumping industrial chemicals, flouride, bromine, arsenic or any other toxic substance into the water. You can ask your sea vegetable provider if they do any type of testing. (We test ours for heavy metals.)
You have to make sure the product is fresh, since over time the plant will lose it’s nutritional value.
You also have to make sure that you’re absorbing the iodine that is in the seaweed.
So I’m sure Dr. Brownstein would agree, it’s not about the seaweed you take in – it’s also about how you digest it.
The best way to determine if you are getting adequate amount of iodine from sea vegetables is to continually test to make sure your levels are at optimal levels (or rise if you’re low.)
3. The skin iodine test not accurate.
Dr. Brownstein has confirmed (adding to a long list of people) that the skin test for iodine is fairly inaccurate. About 80% of the iodine evaporates, so there’s very little science or control involved in this “test” at all.
Urinary testing for iodine is the most accurate in Dr. Brownstein’s opinion.
4. Estrogen is everywhere.
You’d think that all the talk you hear about estrogenic compounds everywhere, every man would be turning into women and every woman would have breast cancer. (Well, wait… Maybe we are…)
Plastics and soy are two estrogenic substances that need to be heavily avoided in order to get your hormones back into balance. This doesn’t mean that you never should eat soy or you never should drink anything from plastic – it means you need to be very careful about your intake so that you don’t fake your body out with estrogen it doesn’t need.
Good news is… Iodine can help modulate estrogen. So having good iodine levels will help you keep your estrogen in check.
5. Will kale really destroy your thyroid?
There is a lot of talk about cruciferous vegetables like kale and cabbage can destroy your thyroid (or at least slow down its function.)
Dr. Brownstein confirms that he’s seen low thyroid function with those who eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables – but mainly in the vegan patients he sees. This is an interesting distinction that he’s seen clinically and I wonder if it’s because most vegans / raw foodies eat a lot of kale or if it’s a combination of what they’re not eating and the cruciferous vegetables.
I don’t know the answer to this, but I’m going to explore it further.
6. Vegan diet can be done, but…
For those of you who are vegans, Dr. Brownstein has good news. He thinks the vegan diet can be done, but with a few caveats. You must work with a practitioner, study it, keep your blood tests monitors and focus on it with a good deal of intensity. If you have this time and energy to focus on your food, then go for it – see what happens. If you don’t you may be better suited to adjust your diet to fit your level of commitment.
The diet debate will likely be endless, but to add my own thoughts, I too believe that some people can thrive on a pure vegan diet. I also believe that others cannot. Regardless of what our ancestors ate, we have to come to terms with the fact that we’re not our ancestors any more. We’ve changed. Some of us have different gene expression that requires different food.
Our diet decisions have to be made by taking a few very important considerations and weighing them according to your physical and emotional needs.
Some of these are:
- Environmental impact of the food you eat.
- Ethical considerations.
- Animal welfare.
- Personal health.
- Community health considerations.
- If you’re judging others or not.
If you assess all of these, you will be able to figure out where you’re at and what diet to choose for your needs.